Why 300 hours of writing seems like a good idea . . .

For the last two weeks, I worked on promoting and participating in a 7-Day Reading Challenge. This summer, I plan on challenging myself with an experiment that I call Minutes to a Better Book. This long-term experiment involves dedicating 300 hours towards writing my books. Here’s why I’m doing it:

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Why am I choosing to dedicate 300 hours towards writing my books?

My goal is to dedicate as much time as possible towards my book series. You can read about my new personal challenge here.  

The truth is, I’ve spent much more of my time doing other things – and for good reasons. By day, I’m a teacher. I grade papers, read young adult novels, and help kids develop their reading and writing skills. When I get home, there are nights of my week dedicated towards grading, reflecting, reading and planning for my classroom. This is the case for many teachers. 

Even finding twenty minutes to write my fiction has seemed harder these days, and I think I know why. I have been avoiding my novel. More specifically I have been avoiding ending my novel.

The reason is simple. End a novel is hard.

Ending my novel would mean passing judgment on a project that I have worked hard on, put off, and returned to over the course of a year.

It would mean that the manuscript was ready for full revision – a process I actually love once I get started. I feel like my worst procrastination habits come in two places: right before the start and right before the end of major tasks and activities. Novel writing is no exception.

With my first novel From One to Another, I wrote a short, 50,000-word young adult realistic fiction novel. To be honest, it was pretty awful, which is why it will never see the light of day in published form. I have since had practice writing, but I noticed that I am most enthusiastic when I start stories and novels.

In many of my major projects, I encounter resistance around the 75% mark. One factor is time, and another is commitment.

As we near the summer, everything changes.

I have fifteen days before my students end the year and fourteen more before I am finished with training, meetings, and other important school-related work. My brain will be free to write for hours on end when the summer comes. If I’m organized, this could be a great chance. I will have more time and mental space to write!

I would be a fool, however, if I didn’t admit that this will take discipline and follow through.

Why is this different than any other summer?

In the past, I didn’t set a specific goal for writing my books. Now, I have one. I want to dedicate 300 hours to my books this summer. This is different than setting a word count. I noticed that I am more productive just setting aside time for the task, rather than an arbitrary outcome or word count.

When the summer hits, I’m aiming for three or more hours a day of writing.  In the next 30 days, that will be hard to find, but after the next 30, it will definitely get easier. Don’t worry. I will still post about other subjects, and not every post will be a process post. 

Right now, it’s a push for as many minutes as I can contribute to my novel, no matter how small. It will all add up. 300 hours is just a worthwhile mark to hit.

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Let me know what you think!

-Curtis

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